Are you one of the many nursing mothers who has become interested in the idea of nursing in a ring sling?
Have you seen other moms doing this and decided it’s time to try it for yourself?
Or would you just like a little more information to help you make the decision?
Whatever brings you here, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll tell you all about how to successfully and safely breastfeed a baby while using a ring sling baby carrier.
In the first part of this article, we’ll give you a few pointers about how this process works and why it can be done so efficiently. From there, we’ll walk you through the steps so you understand the best and safest way to nurse your baby in a ring sling.
At the end, don’t forget to check out our list of safety tips so you can be sure you’re paying as much attention to these important guidelines as possible. Remember that there’s always some small level of risk when nursing a baby in a sling, but if you keep safety information in mind, you can reduce that risk to almost nothing.
Now, are you ready to get started?
Ring Sling Breastfeeding
Ring sling breastfeeding is getting more and more popular with busy nursing moms on the go who are looking for a way to keep at least one hand free during the feeding process. However, there are a few things that you should keep in mind when you’re considering practicing this popular technique.
- Safety first! In the end of this article, we’ll give you plenty of safety tips, but for now just remember that you should always be more concerned with the safety of your baby than with any other aspect of ring sling breastfeeding.
- Your baby’s comfort should be second on your list of must-haves. If your baby isn’t comfortable, he or she is likely to not want to breastfeed. And that’s a sure way to make both of you unhappy very quickly! If your baby is getting fussy while you’re trying to breastfeed him or her in a sling, you may need to adjust the position in which you’re holding your child or change your tactic altogether.
- Your comfort comes next! If holding your baby in a ring sling is putting too much strain on your back, neck, or shoulders, you may have to go back to the more traditional way of breastfeeding. Give it a try a few times and see if your body can adjust to this new method of holding your baby. If not, it may be time to rethink a little bit.
This may sound like a lot of trouble to you, but there are also plenty of great reasons to give it a try. You and your baby both can benefit significantly from breastfeeding in a ring sling for a variety of different reasons. Here are just a few of those:
- You can get more done while breastfeeding your baby in a sling. Although you may not be able to have both hands entirely free, you should have them mostly free while nursing. This can be a huge help when you’re trying to take care of things around the house, work, or tend to your other children while also feeding your baby.
- Your baby will be more comfortable staying close to you at all times, nursing and not. Babywearing is a great way to encourage babies who are having trouble nursing to eat well since it helps them feel more secure overall. When you get your baby used to being carried in a sling, he or she will feel much more comfortable breastfeeding the same way.
- This can be an excellent bonding experience for both of you. Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to bond with your baby in the first place, but when combined with babywearing, you’re able to get maximum bonding time with your little one every time you nurse him or her. It’s a win-win for both of you!
There are lots of other great benefits that are sure to win you over to the idea of breastfeeding in a ring sling, and you’re sure to discover your own reasons for doing so, too. In the following section, we’ll explain the technique for feeding your baby in a ring sling safely and effectively.
How to Nurse a Baby in a Ring Sling
Here comes the fun part! In this section, we’ll talk about how to nurse a baby in a ring sling from start to finish. You’ll learn all the tips, tricks and techniques you need to know to successfully make this work for you and your little one. Don’t be afraid to give it a try for yourself!
1. Especially for your first try, begin by sitting down with your ring sling on. You will need to know how to safely and properly put on your ring sling and tie it for use with a newborn before you get started.
***Note: Some babies will always be resistant to being carried while you walk and nurse at the same time. If your baby is like this, you will need to breastfeed with your sling while seated every time.
2. While sitting, loosen the sling significantly while still keeping it tied around you. It needs to be very loose for this stage.
3. Put the baby into the loose sling and allow the baby to latch on for breastfeeding. You should position your baby so that his or her head is on the side opposite where you are wearing the ring portion of your sling.
***Note: Your baby’s feet should hang out of the sling on the ring side.
4. Wait until your baby is nursing comfortably. Then, slowly tighten the sling by pulling the fabric in the proper direction. Make sure that it stays spread out correctly through the rings.
5. Support your baby’s bottom until you are completely sure he or she is supported by the sling instead. Remain seated while you slowly and carefully remove your hand from your baby.
6. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can stand up at this point. You may want to look in a mirror to make sure you have your baby tied safely in the sling and that everything looks as it should.
7. If you want to begin nursing from a standing position, you can do this as well. Just remember that this is a little bit more advanced, and it may not be something you ever feel comfortable with. If you want to always begin breastfeeding your baby from a seated position, that’s absolutely okay.
8. To start breastfeeding in a sling while still standing, loosen the top rail of your ring sling.
9. Reach up through the sling’s bottom to guide your baby into the sling. You should have a hand between your baby and the sling’s fabric while you do this, and you should always be supporting your baby’s bottom with your other hand.
10. Carefully move your baby’s legs around so that they are positioned under the rings. Adjust the sling’s height and position until your baby can reach breast level.
11. Allow your baby to latch on for nursing. Once he or she is nursing comfortably, adjust the sling more to be sure it’s supportive enough.
12. You will probably need to continue supporting your baby’s shoulders with the back of your arm while nursing in a standing positon. This leaves you mostly hands-free, but not completely. Do not forget to support your baby as needed throughout this process.
13. If your baby is big enough to sit up in a hip carrying position, you can also breastfeed this way. It’s easier to position your child for this type of breastfeeding carry, but remember that this is not safe for newborns or younger infants who cannot support themselves or hold their own head up yet.
It’s not hard to learn how to tie a ring sling successfully for breastfeeding purposes, and it’s not hard to figure out how to move around and have the use of your hands while you’re breastfeeding your little one either. However, remember that your baby may not take to the idea right away, and may feel uncomfortable at first until he or she gets used to it. Give your baby time to adjust by practicing as much as possible until you both get the hang of it. Soon, you’ll be nursing your baby from a ring sling like a pro!
7 Safety Tips for Breastfeeding in a Ring Sling
Safety should always be your number one concern when it comes to breastfeeding your baby in a ring sling. You’ve probably heard about the controversy surrounding babywearing, and it is true that some infant deaths have occurred during this process. However, this has only happened when babywearing is practiced incorrectly or when mistakes have been made, and as long as you are willing to be very attentive of your child at all times, breastfeeding in a sling and babywearing in general should be safe and pleasant for you and your baby both.
Here are some of the most important safety tips for ring sling breastfeeding:
1. Always wear your sling the correct way.
Be sure to watch any instructional material that might have come with your sling or look up lots of videos online to learn how to tie it properly. When you wear your sling correctly, you’re already well on your way to safe babywearing and breastfeeding as well. This also will ensure that you’re comfortable and don’t hurt or strain yourself during the process.
2. Use the right sling for your baby’s weight.
Different types of slings work well for babies of different sizes. You may need a certain type of material for a newborn and a different type for a toddler, or you might want to choose a lightweight sling designed for use in the water to give yourself plenty of range of motion.
- The most important aspect of your sling is that it can very easily be adjusted while you’re wearing your baby, and that it stays in place once you’ve tightened it.
3. Always keep your baby’s head high enough to be able to kiss the top of it.
This is true of any babywearing, but it remains true with breastfeeding in a sling too. Keeping your baby’s head this high will allow your child’s spine, neck, and airway to be in the proper position. This means your baby won’t be injured and will be able to breathe well at all times. When nursing in the sling, this is especially important so that your baby doesn’t choke.
4. Always keep your baby’s chin and chest separated by a space of about two adult fingers.
This also ensures the right amount of airflow and maintains a safe breathing position for your baby. This should be true during feeding as well as when you’re simply carrying your baby throughout your daily activities.
- Don’t let your baby crump up in your sling throughout the day, even though this will be the tendency, especially with newborns.
- Safe babywearing means monitoring your child’s position at all times and adjusting your baby and the sling as needed to keep everything worn safely.
5. Keep a tummy-to-tummy position at all times, even during feeding.
This is by far the safest way to practice babywearing in any situation, at least until your child reaches toddler age and can control his or her body and head without assistance. This positon makes it much easier for you to use your own body to support your child’s, and it also ensures that your baby will be in the best ergonomic positon as possible while being allowed to breathe freely and easily.
- Feeding your baby in this position may take a little bit of practice, but it’s crucial in the journey to safe ring sling breastfeeding.
6. Be sure the ring side of your sling’s fabric is spread out thoroughly over your shoulder for maximum support.
This is a safety tip for you as well as it is for your baby.
- When you spread the fabric out like a sleeve over your shoulder, you’re able to support the weight of your baby much more easily without the risk of the sling pulling out of place while you’re wearing it.
- This also keeps the sling from pulling too tightly on one place on your neck or shoulder, which can prevent you from getting injured while wearing it.
- Finally, spreading the fabric out this way keeps the sling supported across your back as well as your front, which means the fabric will stay in place and so will your baby.
7. Don’t try the cradle position for breastfeeding.
While many nursing moms have been able to perfect this style of breastfeeding and may even insist that it’s the only “right” way to nurse in a sling, this is actually a very potentially dangerous method.
- If you know a nursing mom who has had a great deal of experience with this method, you may be able to get her to teach you how to do it.
- Otherwise, it’s much safer to avoid this position altogether, since it is the only position in which infant deaths have occurred in slings.
- Never, under any circumstances, nurse a newborn in this position.
Keep these tips in mind and you’ll already be well on your way to a much safer ring sling nursing experience. It’s important to remember safety practices even when you feel like you’ve gotten more comfortable with the process, too, and never cut corners.
There’s a lot to learn about nursing babies in a ring sling, and we’ve really only scratched the surface of all the information you might want to have before you start trying this yourself. Of course, the best way to learn is through experience, so once you’re sure you’ve got the safety basics down, you might want to give it a try.
Always remember to keep another capable adult close by when you’re trying this for the first few times. After you get the hang of it, you should have no trouble breastfeeding your baby in a ring sling on your own. Even if you have a nursing newborn in ring sling carriers, there are lots of ways you can safely feed your child while using one of these handy devices.
Ring sling carriers aren’t for everyone, but if you’re the kind of nursing mom who enjoys using them, you can get even more great benefits out of utilizing your sling during feeding time. This can be a nice way to bond with your baby even more than you usually do, and it can be just as convenient for you as it is for your child. Ring slings have a controversial reputation, but always remember your safety tips and you should have no trouble with nursing your child using one.